Pritzker eases restrictions in 3 Illinois regions, all outside Chicago area

Coronavirus

CHICAGO —Governor JB Pritzker announced the easing of restrictions in three Illinois regions during a news conference Friday.

The three regions have moved into Tier two, based on metrics including hospitalizations and a positivity rate of less than 12% for several consecutive days.

Region 1, including counties in Northern Illinois, Region 2 including counties in North Central Illinois , and Region 5 including counties in Southern Illinois, have met the criteria to move to less restricted gatherings and business operations. Full list and map of regions on Illinois Dept of Public Health website.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday she had a planned meeting with Pritzker and is “very very focused on getting our restaurants to reopen.”

“The various criteria the state has set, we are meeting most of those,” she said.

A recent survey from the Illinois Restaurant Association reveals 20% of owners say they will go out of business in several months if a partial reopening doesn’t happen soon. That represents 120,000 employees statewide.

A statement from the IRA said while every step towards reopening is helpful, Friday’s announcement falls short of the industry’s critical and immediate needs.

Already, many of them have gone out of business. Since Pritzker ordered indoor dining shut down in late November, those still in operation have been surviving on just takeout and delivery.

In a statement issued Thursday, the restaurant association called on the governor to, “immediately allow for safe and limited indoor dining operations.”

Large pharmacies are now on board to help with mass vaccination in the state, which health officials hope will greatly speed up the reopening process.

Hundreds of new sites will pop up across the state, including two sites in Cook County distributed by the Illinois National Guard.

Pritzker said he believes vaccine distribution will be much more rampant with a new presidential administration.

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